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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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Samuel McDowell

McDOWELL, Samuel, jurist, born in Pennsylvania, 27 October, 1735; died near Danville, Kentucky, 25 October, 1817. He took an active part in the movement that brought about the war of independence, which is proved by letters addressed to him by Peyton Randolph, Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, George Washington, and others. He served in Captain Lewis's company at Braddock's defeat, and with his eldest son, who like himself was an officer in the Continental line, witnessed Cornwallis's surrender. For many years he was a member of the Virginia legislature, which in 1782 appointed him a commissioner to settle the land-claims of Kentucky. He settled in Danville in 1783, served in the Kentucky legislature for several years, and was a circuit judge, organizing the first court in Danville, which was held in a log cabin near Danville, and was the first court formed in the territory. He was also president of the first State constitutional convention of Kentucky, held in Danville, 19 April, 1792. He remained upon the bench until within a few years of his death.--His son, Ephraim, surgeon, born in Rockbridge county, Virginia, 11 November, 1771 ; died in Danville, Kentucky, 20 June, 1830, attended classical schools in Georgetown and Bardstown, Kentucky, and studied medicine in Staunton, Virginia, completing his medical education in Edinburgh in 1793-'4. He began to practise in Danville. Kentucky, in 1785, and for years was the foremost practitioner in the southwest. In 1817 he was made a member of the Medical society of Philadelphia. He received the degree of M.D. from the University of Maryland in 1825 In 1809 he successfully performed the t operation for extirpation of the ovary, the first on record, and acquired in consequence European celebrity. A description of this, with other cases, he published in the Philadelphia "Eclectic Repertory and Analytic Review" in 1817. He also acquired fame as a lithotomist. Dr. McDowell's account of his operations on the ovaries were received with incredulity in many places, especially abroad, but at this time his title to the name of the " father of ovariotomy" is generally recognized. He was a man of culture and liberal views, and, had he lived in a less primitive community, might have attained wealth and worldwide celebrity in his lifetime, in person he was stout, nearly six feet in height, with a florid complexion and black eyes. He was one of the founders and an original trustee of Centre college, Danville, and a few months before his final illness began to build a large mansion near that town. On 14 May, 1879, a granite monument with a medallion of Dr. McDowell was erected to his memory, the memorial address being made by Dr. Samuel D. Gross, of Philadelphia, before the Kentucky medical society. This is located near the centre of Danville, in a public square known as McDowell park.--His grandson, William Adair, physician, born near Danville, Kentucky, 21 March, 1795; died in Louisville, Kentucky, 10 December, 1853, was educated at Washington college, Virginia, which he left to serve in the war of 1812. He studied medicine with his uncle Ephraim, with whom he practised after receiving his degree from the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania in 1818. He devoted much time to the study of pulmonary consumption, and the result of his clinical observations was published in a monograph entitled "A Demonstration of the Curability of Pulmonary Consumption " (Louisville, 1843).

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